It is widely accepted that for a true resurgence of depleted global fisheries, the world’s major fishing nations need stand shoulder to shoulder. U.S. fisheries management is recognized as a world model, and last week President Obama signed into law the Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Enforcement Act of 2015. It is a bipartisan bill aimed to protect domestic fishermen from illegal competition. The U.S. will now join a global effort to ratify and implement the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), which will prevent vessels carrying fish caught illegally from entering U.S. ports and keep illegal product out of U.S. markets.
We are seeing increasing awareness around the globe to the critical role that managing wild fisheries play in feeding the world. South Korea and China have agreed to take tougher actions to deal with illegal fishing activities to prevent the depletion of fish stocks around the Korean Peninsula.The Taiwanese Fisheries Agency reiterated Monday that it will amend the law to increase penalties for illegal fishing, amid concerns that the European Union has warned Taiwan about the practice and has threatened the possibility of sanctions. Thailand’s cabinet last week approved a raft of measures to deal with IUU fishing as the country struggles to meet an EU deadline in December to clamp down on illegal fishing or risk being hit with damaging trade sanctions. Last month the Australian Fisheries Management Authority seized and destroyed an Indonesian fishing vessel for offences under fisheries and environmental legislation after being discovered with approximately 60 shark fins and a longline with more than 70 hooks baited with meat from a melon headed whale. In an arena that hears constant bad news these stories are beacons of hope, signs of real movement toward global fisheries management.
National Restaurant Association released their list of the 20 Top Restaurant Menu Trends for 2016, with locally sourced meats and seafood at number one and sustainable seafood at number nine. National Fisheries Institute reported a nearly half-pound increase in U.S. per capita annual shrimp consumption to 4 pounds solidifying its place as America’s favorite seafood. At the same time wild gulf shrimpers are hurting as more than 90% of U.S. shrimp is imported, mostly from questionable Asian shrimp farms.
So far this year, the FDA has refused 377 separate shrimp entries citing antibiotics or veterinary drug residues. In all of 2014, the agency turned away 208 shrimp shipments due to illegal drug residues, and that was nearly four times the refusals of a year before. Even so, the underfunded FDA inspected just 3.7 percent of 110,000 shrimp shipments last year and tested far less than that in a monitoring system that focuses on risk. “The FDA can’t be catching all the illegal products on the market when it comes to shrimp and antibiotic residues,” said Urvashi Rangan, Consumer Reports’ director of consumer safety. This is especially frustrating considering the abundance and incomparably quality of our domestic wild shrimpery and the traditional communities it supports.
Chef Nick Curtola of Brooklyn’s The Four Horsemen received some Red Drum landed in Beaufort, NC last week and wrote us: “People were really liking the drum. It was also the best quality fish this far. They’ve all been really nice, but 2 fish were still in rigor and super stiff. So nice to see that. Very rare around New York from a lot of these distributors. Thanks again for working with us!”
Chef Nick, it is truly our pleasure.
All the best,
from the Dimin Family and the Sea to Table team